When onetime resident of Hoboken Stephen Foster wrote "The Old Folks at Home," he wasn't talking about The Real Housewives of New Jersey. These babes weren't even dreamed of in his day.
The cable show The Real Housewives of Orange County, itself a take on the new definition of the word housewife--as spawned by ABC's Desperate Housewives of a few years back, has taken on some interesting real-life, high-living wives in New York City and Atlanta. The Real Housewives of New Jersey is the last runaway hit in the series on Bravo.
We have to accept at the outset that none of these ladies would fit the definition of "housewife." Some aren't even married. The title is meant as ironic. We also have to suspend our disbelief that they might even be real. We have to have just a little bit of awe at the everyday goings-on in the lives of the very rich and not-so-famous. Even with their devotion to working for charitable causes, the kind of money these women shell out every day on themselves is staggering, and big money is part of the picture of their lives. They raise children, they love, they gossip, they laugh, and they are like rare birds in an aviary. You may call them shallow, but Lord help me, I like to watch them.
The Real Housewives of New Jersey introduced us to the world not unlike that of the women in The Sopranos. Although they're not mob wives, they live in suburban castles and they shepherd their children around between visits to the plastic surgeon and spa parties where they all watch each other get botox. There is, like Omarosa on Donald Trump's Apprentice shows, one among them who stirs up the pot--a woman with a questionable past, who states as her modus operandi, "Either you love me or you hate me, there's no in between." People who think like that are asking for it, and she gets it time and again, in front of everybody.
The New York Times review said this was the most entertaining show in the series. I was hooked on The Real Housewives of New York City, but I admit I like this one better. The matriarch, Caroline, is pretty, funny, and laughs a lot, and her sister Dina is a pistol, a beauty with brains and no patience with the foibles of others. These women are nothing like any real housewives I have ever known--certainly not in Hoboken--but there is a gloss to their days not unlike that of the rich anywhere.
This morning Bravo will air some of the earlier episodes, and there will be a marathon starting a 5 P.M. Eastern Time to catch up any newcomers and prepare us all for tonight's season finale, which, from the promos, looks like a doozy. At last we get them all together for a showdown, with plates flying, the dinner table overturned and everybody getting hot. Really hot. I wouldn't miss it for the world.